Leeds Rhinos 24-18 Warrington Wolves: Player ratings and five major talking points

Hardaker has signed.

Leeds Rhinos are fifth in the league.

It may not have been the fanciest win, but it was a win that demonstrated the developing character of Rohan Smith’s Rhinos.

Major Talking Points:

Rohan’s revolutionised attack
Leeds’ first and last tries of the first half for me summed up how different the Leeds attack is under Rohan Smith. The first try blended together a set play down the left and an off the cuff play down the right to see Ash Handley – the left winger – score under the sticks supporting a break from right side second-row Rhyse Martin. Leeds play every play to the fullest under Smith expressing themselves and always looking for the pass. The last try of the first 40 indicated the change in the kicking game from Leeds. Earlier this year, Leeds rarely scored from kicks now they do it quite frequently with Zane Tetevano crossing after a lovely high kick. I want to mention the celebrations for Tetevano which show the togetherness in the squad Rohan Smith has brought.

Tetevano turnaround
I could sit here all day long and talk about the good Rohan Smith has done at Leeds, but perhaps focusing on a couple of microcosms of his impact is the best way of demonstrating the paradigm shift at Headingley. Bodene Thompson and Zane Tetevano are two players who weren’t exactly beloved by Leeds fans earlier this year but under Rohan Smith the duo have developed into energetic forwards always looking to get their hands of the ball.

Rhinos backrowers stand up
Leeds’ backrowers stole the show tonight. The three that started in Morgan Gannon, James Bentley and Rhyse Martin all either scored or assisted with a special mention to Bentley for his superb offload to create Martin’s try. They three were tenacious in defence as well again especially Bentley. The trio started the game really well and then Cameron Smith came on and added another dimension to the Leeds attack.

Ill-discipline costly again
In the first half, Leeds didn’t give away a single six again but that wasn’t the case in the second half as persistent penalties along with unnecessary errors opened the door for Warrington to battle back in the contest. Something Leeds need to change if they’re going to make the play-offs.

Not the second half Leeds wanted but the one they needed
Might seem like a strange statement saying that was the ideal second half for Leeds even though they lost it 12-0 and ended up clinging on to the win and fifth place, but it was. This is a learning Leeds side and if they want to cause teams above them problems they’ll face the kind of adversity and pressure they faced in the second half today. They defended valiantly for virtually the whole 40 minutes and held on to a vital win.

Player Ratings:

16 Richie Myler – 8
29 Liam Tindall – N/A
33 Zak Hardaker – 8
4 Liam Sutcliffe – 7
5 Ash Handley – 8
6 Blake Austin – 8
7 Aidan Sezer – 7
8 Mikolaj Oledzki – 9
24 Jarrod O’Connor – 7
13 Zane Tetevano – 7
21 Morgan Gannon – 9
12 Rhyse Martin – 8
11 James Bentley – 9
10 Matt Prior – 7
14 Brad Dwyer – 7
17 Cameron Smith – 8
22 Sam Walters – 7

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